It's the second week of rehearsal for the company of TWO STORIES - a world premiere production by local playwright Elaine Jarvik. This play's fascinating themes and complex characters are brought to life by five of the best Salt Lake City actors. We'd like to introduce you to the cast of TWO STORIES.
Elena Dern is no stranger to SLAC. She's appeared in SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2012, BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON, DR. SEUSS'S THE CAT IN THE HAT and has assistant choreographed SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2013 and 2014. She's a proud graduate of the University of Utah's Actor Training Program.
Alexandra Harbold has done almost everything there is to do at Salt Lake Acting Company - she's acted in ICE GLEN, SIX YEARS, and CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION, she's directed THE PERSIAN QUARTER and (a man enters), she's designed posters and newsletters, done dramaturgical work, answered the phone, taken care of VOYEUR parties, baked the most delicious scones for staff meetings, and much more during her six years on SLAC's staff.
This marks Tamara Johnson-Howell's first time on SLAC's stage, but Utah theatre-goers will recognize her from productions at Pygmalion Theatre, Utah Rep, Pinnacle Acting Company, and Utah Theatre Artists. When she's not working on a show herself, she's teaching the lucky students at Lakeview Academy how it's done.
Tito Livas is another SLAC newbie. Tito hails from the north (Idaho) and has travelled the world performing with Holland America, Theatre Works USA, and Walt Disney World, just to name a few. We're thrilled to have him here in Salt Lake City.
You may remember Zack Phifer as the well-meaning neanderthal Michael in GOD OF CARNAGE. Or from episodes of "Seinfeld" or "Murphy Brown". Or perhaps from "Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion". We remember him as a baker and bringer of delicious goods and one of our favorite actors.
We asked them to answer a few weird questions, so we could all get to know each other a little better. Enjoy!
- Any irrational fears that you're open to being gently teased about?
Tito: I have a fear that is completely rational!! Like 50% of america (I made that percentage up) I have a fear of clowns. They're gross and sick and should be burned until they are no more. WHY ARE YOU WEARING ALL THAT MAKEUP?!! TO HIDE THAT YOU'RE THE DEVIL?!!
Elena: I'm really afraid of black mold.
Tamara: I have an irrational fear of birds and moths - - anything fluttery freaks me out.
- Are you watching HOUSE OF CARDS and if so, do you love or hate Frank Underwood?
Tito: I am NOT watching House of Cards, but I like building them...but not out of cards...out of blocks. I like blocks.
Elena: I'll start on House of Cards as soon as I finish Game of Thrones. I'm a little behind.
Tamara: I love Frank Underwood - - but I REALLY love Claire *shudders*.
- What is the best piece of theatre you've seen or worked on?
Andra: I am obsessed with the work of Simon McBurney and Complicite. And have been since 1993. Seeing Street of Crocodiles changed the way I saw theatre. It imprinted.
Zack: Either Lily Tomlin in Jane Wagner's "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" (she could change characters back and forth in a heartbeat and wonderfully funny, insightful and memorable) or Royal Shakespeare Company's 8 1/2-hours-in-one-day "Life and Times of Nicholas Nickelby". (I think my mind wandered for a minute and a half of it. I thought, "Why can't all live theatre be this thrilling and engaging?")
Tito: There's too much...I mean, I saw the original cast of War Horse at the Lincoln Center and it was brilliant...absolutely brilliant, in every aspect. But then I saw King Kong the musical in Melbourne Australia and was blown away by the music and the puppetry of that colossal creature! It literally took my breath away- I stopped breathing. BUT THEN I remember...no. you know what? I can't. There's too much great theatre out there.
Elena: I saw Ruined at the Almeida Theatre in London and it was heartbreakingly beautiful.
- Any funny or weird stories about SLAC?
Tamara: Showed up late for a matinee of Voyeur (thought it was an hour later than it was) and everyone was so gracious and sweet about it, and changed our tkts for the later performance - which they didn't have to do!!!
- If we looked at the "special skills" section of your resume, what might we be surprised to see?
Andra: Does consuming epic amounts of tea count? Probably not, but I can drink most other tea-drinkers under the table.
Baking (particularly scones, brownies, and Irish brown bread)skills when needed. Mucking stalls. Dancing the Highland Fling and the Sword Dance.
Tito: Hmmm...what might you be surprised to see? That I have "being brown" listed...cause that's pretty special.
Elena: I can burp the ABC's.
Tamara: I speak Spanish, I play the Piano and Guitar - - and I juggle. Actually that's a lie - I don't juggle.
- What's the most exotic place you've ever been?
Zack: Gibraltar..monkeys, lots of rock, being able to see across to Africa, concert in a cave and James Bond.
Tito: This is a tough one...in the last two years I've visited 6 of the 7 continents, and seen more beauty in this world that I thought possible- especially for a boy from Idaho. But I think I'm gonna go with Bora Bora. It's ridiculous there.
Elena: Guaymas, Mexico. I felt like I was the only person in this small, quaint town who didn't speak Spanish. Ironic, seeing as my character is Melinda Alvarado.
- Do you have a favorite recipe you're willing to share?
Tito: Yes! It's on the back of the velveeta cheese and macaroni box.
Elena: I burn everything I cook.
Tamara: Ice, Gin, Tonic, 2 Limes
- What's your favorite bar or restaurant in Salt Lake City?
Tito: I've been in SLC for less than a year so I haven't tried everything out there, but I have tried several little local restaurants and my favorite one is Applebees. JK. ha. I do really like Faustina though! mmm.
Elena: I'm in love with the Bayou. Their sweet potato fries always win my heart.
Zack: Taco Cart on the west side of the Sears parking lot. I need my tacos and burritos!!!!
Tamara: I love me some Poplar St.